Canada’s steady stream of court convictions against companies for violations of its basic food safety laws, such as the Meat Inspection Act, continued during September with two more firms facing fines.
Markham, Ontario-based Ly Meat Inc. pleaded guilty in Provincial Court in Truro and Halifax, Nova Scotia to two counts of contravening the Meat Inspection Act and was fined a total of $2,500.
The two counts stem from incidents in both June and September 2010 when Ly Meat was involved in the interprovincial movements of meats from Ontario to Nova Scotia that did not comply with subsection 8(b) of the Meat Inspection Act.
Subsection 8 (b) says: “No person shall send or convey a meat product from one province to another unless it complies with prescribed standards and is packaged and labelled in the manner prescribed.”
Another Markham, Ontario-based firm, LHK Traditional Foods Trading Inc., also pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to one court of contravening the Meat Inspection Act.
LHK, which is registered as 1583309 Ontario Inc. was fined $1,500. It admitted that between February and October 2009, LHK was involved in the interprovincial movement of meat from Ontario to Nova Scotia. Like Ly Meat, LHK violated Section 8 (b) of the Meat Inspection Act.
The September guilty pleas and fines bring the number of Canadian companies that have been taken through the courts for food safety violations to 29. Most, but not all of the fines, were relatively small.
However, Canada’s practice of taking offenders through the courts to create a public record of those with food safety violations is unlike the system practiced the United States, where most things do not go beyond administrative actions.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for enforcing Canada’s food safety laws. Its regular reporting on the court’s action may be helping CFIA’s image. Canadian confidence in the food safety system was up to 68 percent in September, up three percent from 2010.
The annual survey by Leger Marketing says the public also trusts the government to manage the average 226 food recalls Canada experiences each year.
Canada’s 2011 budget makes a $100 million commitment over five years to improve inspector training, technology, and scientific capacity.